WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Forty leaders from major environmental organizations, food companies and grower associations met with key leaders from Bayer CropScience to discuss sustainable agriculture at Bayer CropScience's fourth annual Industry Relations Summit in Washington, DC, on December 2-3. Sustainable agriculture is a topic generating significant attention because of concerns over the global economy and the recognition of the need to meet increasing food demands while protecting our environment.



According to the United Nations, the world's population today is 6.5 billion; by 2025 there will be 8.0 billion people to feed and clothe. Growers will need to produce as much food in the next 40-80 years as they have in the past 12,000 years on the same amount of arable land in order to meet this demand. Sustainable agriculture remains a focused topic for the entire food supply chain.



"Increasing food needs go beyond the obvious link to growing population. Massive job creation in developing countries has lead to widespread prosperity. As people move from poverty to greater abundance, their diets improve from cereal grains to vegetable oils to protein (i.e. meat.) The growth of the global middle class has placed tremendous strains on production agriculture," said Al Ambrose, vice president of CHS Inc. "The challenge we face is how to meet this burgeoning demand without savaging the planet. The solution lies in technology which provides greater productivity from every acre utilized."



Bill Buckner, president and CEO of Bayer CropScience, said during his opening summit remarks, "Bayer CropScience is committed to working with the entire value chain -- growers, seed companies, food suppliers, environmental organizations -- to ensure high-quality affordable food is available while ensuring the environment is protected. This annual summit brings together leaders in the agriculture value chain so we all can better understand our roles and challenges in providing food, feed, fuel and fiber as we protect tomorrow today."



He continued, "We are potentially one drought away from a global food crisis. Environmental organizations, food companies, growers and agribusinesses like Bayer must work to feed the growing population through innovation while maintaining critical habitat and biodiversity."



Dave McLaughlin, World Wildlife Fund's vice president, agriculture, said, "The fact that we are here to discuss the importance of working together to meet global food demands and environmental preservation is indicative of Bayer's commitment to sustainability. We want future generations to ask, 'How did you do that?' not, 'What were you thinking?'"



Leaders from Ducks Unlimited, Duke University, National Association of Conservation Districts, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Keystone Center, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Inc., CHS, Inc., Cotton Incorporated, PepsiCo, The Coca-Cola Company, The Kellogg Company, Ad Farm, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Food Marketing Institute, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Potato Council and the United Fresh Produce Association participated in Bayer CropScience's Industry Relations Summit.



"Our hope is that all summit participants left with a heightened awareness and continued commitment to innovation and collaboration to provide a safe, affordable and abundant food supply while ensuring critical habitat is protected," concluded Buckner.



Bayer CropScience LP is the U.S. business of Bayer CropScience AG. Bayer AG is a global research-based and growth-oriented enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 5.7 billion (2006), is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of about 17,900 and is represented in more than 120 countries.



SOURCE: Bayer CropScience via Market Wire.